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What you're really getting when hiring a photographer
A few days ago I met with another photographer in my area just to enjoy each other's company and a good cup of coffee. During the conversation, we briefly touched on the fact that people aren't seemingly as interested in portrait photography like they once were. We moved on from the topic but just bringing up the subject has inspired me to write this post.
Do we need portrait photographers?
A small portion of the population will say that we don't. They don't see or understand the need to hire someone to capture special events or create a photograph (yes, I said create) because these people see nothing wrong with cell phone shots and inexpensive compact cameras. Now I'm not trying to say that the camera is the problem, it's the mentality.
Most people will see the purpose of a good portrait photographer but can't seem to justify the cost because they or someone they know "has a DSLR" and think "Well, Aunt Betty has a nice camera so she can take the photos". To this, I can only say that I own some expensive pots and pans but I can't prepare a gourmet meal the same as a Michelin Star chef.
I can't blame people for not knowing if they've never had to experience the difference. Not everyone eats, sleeps and breathes photography and nor do they want to, however, there are a ton of "horror" stories about people hiring a photographer for a wedding and getting extremely sub-par quality photographs. Once you dig a little, you'll see that the majority have paid for a "craigslist photographer" but expected an internationally known photographers work. You probably know someone who has had to deal with this. Ask 'em.
What you're getting from a professional.
Let's just lay it out there. You're paying for their experience. Just like you'd pay a doctor to deliver your first born and not a plumber. That plumber may have a smock and stethoscope but he is by no means qualified.
If you find a photographer, love his/her work, want to share it with friends and if money was no object that he/she would photograph every event and family portrait for the rest of your life then that is the person that you need to stick with. Book that photographer! I've never heard a person say that "The photographer was amazing but I wouldn't pay for it again." Ever.
Photography is a craft and we love it. We all do. Not a single day goes by on our modern lives that we don't consume a source of media that some photographer hasn't work on, made a commission in one form or another. Photographs are everywhere.
Everyone can take a photo but photographers create photographs.
I shoot outdoor portraits from early April until around mid-October and I love what I do. When I'm not shooting portraits for someone, I'm finding ways that I can shoot for other people that I haven't met yet. It's something that I love. Live what you Love.
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